Personal Statement

 Personal Statement

 What if people ate better, exercised more, practiced preventative medicine and took precautions against illness and disease?  What about for athletes?  Does nutrition lead to better performance and results? Would people live longer, healthier lives with better nutrition and diets?  I often have found myself asking these questions. 

As a result of these inquiries, after completing my Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Pre-Medicine, I decided to pursue my MPH degree with a concentration in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  I wanted to aid in bridging the gap between clinical medical practice and community health.  I felt that through public health intervention programs, communities and individuals can be educated to achieve healthier lives.  In learning that many health problems are attributed to poor nutrition and that proper nutrition can reduce risk factors for many illnesses and diseases, dietetics became a real interest of mine.  

My first true introduction to dietetics was at a women’s college basketball team meeting which was led by a registered dietitian.  Being a freshman at the time, when asked, “Why do you eat what you do? Do you think about nutrition?”  I really did not have any answers.  I just said that I cooked the things I did because they were recipes my mother cooked at home and I ate because I was hungry.  Luckily, my mother cooked nutritious, healthy meals and I learned about eating a well balanced diet.  This made me wonder about my teammates who came from different backgrounds.  What did their families teach them and what did they eat?  At this point in my life, I started to think about nutrition.  I remember asking questions and researching calories, carbohydrates, protein, etc; and trying to explore food, nutrients and how they affect athletic performance. 

Once I graduated, my life and education took a turn.  I was drafted into the WNBA, Women’s National Basketball Association.  I started to play in the WNBA during the summers and was recruited to play in Europe during the rest of the year.  Throughout my career, I have traveled throughout Europe and I have lived in Spain, France, Israel, and South Africa and have been exposed to many types of lifestyles, cultures and cuisines. 

While I was traveling, I had to find new things to eat because many of my home meals were not available.  I remember in my first year overseas I wanted to buy chicken, so I looked in the freezer section to try to find skinless, precut, deboned chicken breasts.  I asked the employee in the little Spanish I knew at the time and to my surprise there was nothing of the sort.  She directed me to the butcher.  I slowly walked over to the glass window to see whole chickens laying there head, feet, feathers and all.  Needless to say, this was not what I was expecting.  

In addition to learning how to prepare food in foreign countries to fit my diet, I was surprised at how much pork is consumed in the Spanish diet, in addition to eggs and potatoes.  When I was living in France, I was intrigued by how much cheese, wine, and red meat the people ate, including my teammates, but how low the incidence of heart attacks is there in France.  Even more interesting was that the French eat dessert at most every meal.  These experiences again revealed some of the same questions about which food and culture is best for health.

I wanted to learn more about health and nutrition, but attending college at this point while I was moving around the world playing professional basketball did not seem realistic.  This was the case until I found a school which offered dietetic classes via distance learning.  Once I took my first classes, I knew that I wanted to become a Registered Dietitian.  I have now completed my DPD course work, earning a second BS in dietetics, and have passed the DTR exam.  

My career goals are to be able to use both my MPH degree and eventually my RD credential to help people improve their health and quality of life.  I have had the pleasure of using basketball as a platform to share about health, nutrition and fitness with children around the world.  I have conducted many camps and clinics in the United States, France, Spain and Africa teaching children the importance of good nutrition and exercise.  Through these experiences, I have found a passion for community health and nutrition and have developed an interest for health improvement and food securities in developing countries.  

My strengths include my ability to move and adapt to new situations.  Through my experiences in sports, I have learned that hard work is rewarding and I have an ability to focus and finish tasks.  This is shown by my willingness to pursue and finish my dietetic courses even while working and living around the world.  My areas of improvement are my work experience.   Due to my professional basketball career, I have not had as many clinical and food service work experiences as I would like.  My goal is to continue studying through an internship to gain essential knowledge and skills which can be applied to my new career in dietetics. 


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